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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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caused the Russian territorial claims to be dropped, "Although Eden
declared that Britain will not conclude any secret agreements, it could be
admitted that Molotov returned to Moscow without having any doubts
concerning Britain's position regarding the Polish frontier. The Poles
were not informed on this point,"*
Having signed the Treaty with Britain,, Molotov rushed post-haste to
Washington, but there he met with a clear-cut refusal. The U.S.
Government was very far from giving consent to any changes of frontiers
in Europe, especially where it concerned Poland. The six million people,
that group of Americans of Polish descent, headed a vigorous action in
order to defend the rights of their Motherland. And in this they could
reckon on the support of the majority of the American public. Never-
theless, in the opinion of the U.S. Government, the stability of the Polish-
Russian frontier was shaken after the Treaty of July 30, 1941, and none
other than Sikorski was to state this fact in March, 1942, after his visit to
Roosevelt, when, in reply to the journalists, he answered that the u ques-
tion of the Polish frontiers will be settled by the correlation offerees after
the war," and that " the Atlantic Charter, which remains the chief source
of the moral strength of the allied cause, may either be accepted as a
whole or rejected as a whole."f
The summer of 1942 marked a period of growing impatience in the
Kremlin's attitude towards the Polish problem. The Russians had not
up to then gained much in the diplomatic arena. The Soviets still
needed the Allies more than they needed the Soviets. Although Britain
had not recognised their claims to the Baltic States, she had tacitly made
a concession by ignoring that point. The legations of these States did
not appear that year in the diplomatic list of His Majesty's Government.
The situation on the Eastern front was presenting an even more gloomy
picture at that time. The Germans were driving on to the Volga and
the Caucasus, but the Kremlin had no doubts now that the crisis of the
Soviet rule was over. And it was only a question of time to exhaust this
German ' drive * and overcome the crisis on the front.
This conviction found ready expression in the change in the Russian
attitude regarding the whole frontier zone on the West, which Moscow
had then occupied for nearly two years. The first step was to restore
the e Ribbentrop-Molotov Line * with the assistance, or merely by the
tacit consent, of the Allies. It should be recalled that Russia in any
coalition in war-time has always been careful to anticipate the expected
defeat of the enemy and to obtain a guarantee from her Allies regarding
future territorial gains. A classic example of this was the secret agree-
ment of 1915, in which the Entente agreed that the Turkish Straits would
be part of the post-war Russian booty, and even thoroughly defined the
* New York Times, March 7th, 1943 and December IStfe, 1944.
t The Times, April 17th, 1942.